I’m Giving Birthday Presents Like a Hobbit ?

I’m having a crHappy Birthday, so I’m fixing it by giving books away.

Your to-do list today:

  1. Get a free story as a birthday present for you
  2. Vote for Kin & Kind, please and thank you

Happy Birthday…?

So here’s the very short version: Today is my birthday, and I was supposed to be traveling through Italy this week, visiting archaeological sites and gathering research vibes.

Instead, I am spending my birthday as day 9 in isolation in a single room with a positive COVID test.

I feel absolutely fine (I never even had a mild fever — go, go, vaccine power!) but Italy’s regulations meant I couldn’t enter the country, so I am in a cruise ship cabin heading into the eastern Mediterranean. I might get to leave the ship on Wednesday, if I test negative. (Fingers crossed!) Not that I miss having additional symptoms, but it’s a long time to be isolated when I’m not really sick.

So as you can imagine, I am pretty bummed. I spent a long, long time planning this trip, I read multiple books to prepare for Pompeii and Herculaneum because I am a nerd, and I’d spent literal years building up for a return research trip to Venice, which now isn’t happening. I’m in a tiny space with a cruddy internet connection (don’t even ask how long it took to write this online — we’re talking hours), and they took Encanto off the very short movie list. What a birthday.


I am making the best of things. I have done multiple 5ks while in isolation (my current room gives me just 5 steps in a row on the long side, but where else am I gonna go?), and I am giving away a birthday present.

Today the ship is anchored at Thira, better known as Santorini, and we’re drifting in the caldera (too deep to anchor). Since I can’t go out, I spent the morning looking out at the cliffs, reading about the cruise ship which sank here and is still leaking, and thinking about the massive volcanic explosions which created this absolutely enormous miles-across caldera, one of which probably devastated the Minoan civilization, definitely buried ancient towns, and may have inspired the tale of Atlantis.

view of Santorini caldera from ship
Enjoy this picture, for the hour-plus it took to upload.
She Speaks In Flames

So what better time to give away an Atlantis story?

Click through to pick up a free ebook. (If you’re asked for an email address, no worries — it won’t sign you up for anything additional!) Or go here and use the code happybirthday to get the audio for just $.99!

And help me out, please: if you have a fantastic idea for exercising in a space just under the width of my arms, or a really fun isolation game to play, hit reply and let me know. :)

Readers’ Choice Award!

I am delighted to report that Kin & Kind was nominated by enough people to make the semi-finals for the Realm Awards Alliance Award — thank you so much! And now is the time to act!

You can vote for Kin & Kind (and other favorite reads) right here in this easy form. Vote now, and you can still edit your choices if you read another great book before voting closes. Thank you for your support!

And now, it’s time to go have snacks in honor of my birthday. If I can’t have cake and ice cream, you can. Let me know what flavors you go with!

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